In thinking about my O words, I pondered on whether I should share something so personal on such an open place. But I have decided that the slight discomfort will be worth it if it convinces even one person to get checked. So O is for Ovarian Cancer.
I am a cancer survivor. I won the nefarious battle and came out a victor. I have been cancer free for 12 years. Not everyone is as lucky as I am. You see, I was fortunate that my cancer was found at just stage 1. The prognosis when you find it so early is pretty good. I am one of the lucky ones. They were pretty convinced at the beginning that it was just a cyst and nothing to worry about. They ran a CA-125 test on me and it came back negative. But when they got in to remove the cyst, they found the actual tumor encapsulated inside they cyst. All heck broke loose after that. I got my very own oncologist. Pretty exciting time in my life.
I was in my very early 30’s when I had a complete hysterectomy. They wanted to just take out the one ovary and actually did. I threw a fit. You see, before my first surgery for the cyst, I had explicitly said that if they found ANYTHING at all, I wanted them to take everything out. They didn’t think I was serious. I was. I demanded they take it all. I didn’t want to live with the possibility of it coming back. I am thankful to this day that I made them listen. I fought with them for several months before I was told just before Christmas that maybe I should do that. It was the best Christmas present ever.
They were worried about how I would feel about not being able to have more children. I was fine with that. Chandler was a miracle I was never supposed to have anyway, so I just wanted them to rip it all out. That was how I could be safe. The other ovary wasn’t working properly anyway. My risk of recurrence was greater because of that. I knew I was better off with it all out and gone.
Here’s the thing…we women need to be checked for this and often. We need to have those annual exams and we need to listen to our bodies. We often know when something isn’t right. It’s much better to find these things EARLY. That is how you survive. I am a survivor. I am an example. Please listen and make sure you are healthy. It’s important. You are needed.